Netflix’s ‘Garouden’ Ending Explained: Did Fujimaki Defeat Himekawa?

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Based on the martial arts novel series by Baku Yumemakura, Atsushi Ikariya’s Garouden: The Way of the Lone Wolf largely followed Juzo Fujimaki, who was a fugitive and a practitioner of the Takemiya style of fighting. He wanted to live like a loner, but, due to his skills and stature, he was forcefully drawn into a tournament by someone called the Sergeant. While he tried to make his way out of this tournament alive, police officer Tamon tried to get a hold of Fujimaki as well as the organization that was in charge of the tournament that he was in. Then there was Shozan Matsuo, the founder of the Hokushinkan school of fighting, who was holding his own tournament to find out who the best fighter was. His assistant, Tsutomu Himekawa, was his prized possession. He went to train under Soichiro Izumi (who is apparently the founder of the Takemiya style) and then fell in love with his daughter, Saeko Izumi. Back in the day, Juzo saved Saeko from being killed by her abuser, and he has been in love with her ever since. When he learned that Saeko and Himekawa were a couple, he decided to barge into Shozan’s tournament and defeat Himekawa. Did he bag the win? Well, let’s find out.

Spoiler Alert

Nagata was supposed to fight Himekawa in the finale of the Hokushinkan tournament, but in a desperate bid to take on Himekawa for stealing his girl, Fujimaki incapacitated Nagata and took his place in the tournament. Matsuo was aware of Fujimaki’s skills and his iconic Tiger King move. He knew that Himekawa was exceptional when it came to mixed martial arts. So, he didn’t want rules and regulations, or the fact that the police wanted to arrest Fujimaki, to ruin his chances of witnessing the fight of the century. That was why he decided to give Fujimaki a pass and even got the audience excited despite the change in plans. Given how Garouden series had centered its story around Fujimaki, it seemed like he was going to win against Himekawa. In the tournament organized by the Sergeant, he always started on the back foot and eventually defeated his enemy by studying their pattern. The same thing happened in the fight against Himekawa. It looked like Fujimaki wouldn’t be able to get the better of Himekawa, but he did. However, just when things were coming to a close and Fujimaki could taste victory with his Tiger King maneuver, Himekawa did the unthinkable.

The Tiger King kick was a staple of the Takemiya style of fighting. By training under Izumi, Himekawa had not only learned how to modify the technique but also counter it. So, when Fujimaki tried to knock him down with the Tiger King move, Himekawa managed to get out of the trap. And when Fujimaki tried it a second time, he countered it, thereby inventing the Counter Tiger King. Fujimaki was unable to recover from that counterattack, and he was knocked unconscious. At the end of Netflix’s Garouden, Himekawa emerged as the winner, while Fujimaki was arrested by the police and imprisoned for his crimes. That said, Matsuo was so impressed by Fujimaki’s skills that he promised him that he’d organize a fight between Fujimaki and himself because it was a part of his ambitious dream. Fujimaki didn’t look particularly enthusiastic about it. The entire crowd was clapping for him, and it sounded like Saeko forgave Fujimaki for abandoning her right after saving her life. The show ended with Tamon resuming his job as a policeman and Bunshichi Tanba and his assistant going to Nara to master the Takemiya style of fighting.

To say that the storytelling of Garouden was convoluted as hell will be an understatement. It went in so many directions that it kind of lost track of what it was supposed to talk about. Yes, it was about the relevance and perseverance of the two schools of fighting: Takemiya and Hokunshinkan. Based on the final battle, it seemed like the show was trying to say that the Takemiya style of fighting had become obsolete and the Hokunshinkan style of fighting was going to reign supreme. But, if you look at it closely, Himekawa, the poster boy of Hokunshinkan, had turned into a Takemiya disciple by integrating the Tiger King into his skills. On top of that, he was in love with Saeko, who was synonymous with Takemiya. So, you can say that his soul had undergone a transformation as well. Given how Tanba showed interest in Takemiya, it meant that the style hadn’t gone out of vogue. The truth of the matter is that the only thing that became yesterday’s news was Fujimaki. In an attempt to save Takemiya, he lost himself. Due to his emotions, he allowed the beast inside him to govern his moves instead of channeling everything he had learned from his teachers.

Throughout the course of Netflix’s Garouden, Fujimaki said that he was using Takemiya to contain the beast that resided within him. But when the time came, he failed, because he wasn’t thinking about taming his instincts or celebrating Takemiya. The only thing that was going through his mind was that Himekawa had robbed him of his opportunity to get some kind of closure with Saeko. He had punished himself all his life for not only using his skills to kill the guy who had abused Saeko but also for not being by Saeko’s side when she needed him the most. He thought that he was doing everyone a huge service by returning to the Izumis and asking for Saeko’s hand in marriage. That was the most insensitive and ignorant thing for him to do. He didn’t care to know how Saeko recovered after that incident or what she was doing at the present moment. Fujimaki thought that Saeko was waiting for him all this while and would be ready to marry him at the mere sight of him. So, it wasn’t Himekawa’s superior skills or the hybridization of Takemiya that defeated Fujimaki; it was his hubris that crushed him. Hence, the moral of the story is that nobody owes you anything just because you think you are the best at something.


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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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